The Slap – Review

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The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas is what many have come to love about Australian writers. This is a no holds barred look at middle class Australian families. The title of the book should for some be taken as a warning of sorts as that is exactly what it does. It will slap you around and make you question yourself over and over as you read it. Opinions change and your idea of whats right and wrong will be turned upside down.

The Slap is a story told in eight parts, with each part centred around one of the main protagonists. The story begins with a suburban bbq, A man slaps a child that isn’t his and sets in motion a chain of events that no one sees coming. Each of the eight characters is affected directly or indirectly by this event, each character is forced to look at his or her own beliefs about family, child raising and what is right and wrong. Some with disastrous consequences.

Christos Tsiolkas shines a spotlight on an issue that is topical and will cause anyone who reads The Slap to question themselves and their beliefs on parenting. Told with unflinching honesty and challenging ideas this is a story that highlights exactly why he has received such high acclaim.

The Slap has won many awards including, Overall Best Book in the Commonwealth Writers Prize for 2009, The ABA book of the year 2009 and was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Prize in 2009 among many others.

This is a brilliant look at suburban Australian life, peppered with gritty language, brilliant characters and startling honesty. Christos Tsiolkas does not hold back and readers will definitely have a strong reaction to this novel. Love it or Hate it The Slap is a story that will challenge people’s ideals and make readers stand up and take notice.

For lovers of this book there is good news, The Slap is being made into an eight part tele series which will air on ABC later in the year. I know as a reader I found this book challenging it made me angry, it made me cry and it made me think about myself and my beliefs. I cant wait to see this brilliant novel adapted for the screen.

I hope that it will encourage people to read this book and find out for themselves how they feel about this topical and hotly contested issue.




A Bibliophiles love affair with books…

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Ever since I was a little girl I have loved books. I loved the covers, the pictures and the stories within them. I grew up with an intense passion for reading, I was a book geek even before I knew that was patently uncool (lets face it books are not cool when you’re in school)I would save my money each week and offer to do more around the house so I could buy more books. I was a voracious reader and one was never enough.

As I grew so did my taste in writing, I went from picture books to small chapter books and I formed a lifelong bond with writers like Roald Dahl and Mem Fox and all the beautiful writers in between. Then of course came the push into more adult reading, for me it was John Marsden’s Tomorrow Series and Z for Zachariah. Then of course it was time to leave behind childish things and embark on more adult choices, next on the list was Bryce Courtenay and JRR Tolkien.

But of course I didn’t stop there. I then began to discover teen angst gems like Looking For Alibrandi and Go Ask Alice Anonymous, and of course the most incredible writer of the time and author of more banned books than most the wonderful Judy Blume. I can thank Judy for all that I knew about sex, puberty, awkward teenage phases and everything in between.

But then of course I got too old to be reading those sorts of things and my adolescent mind turned to what was cool what real readers would be impressed by. And so began an enduring love affair with the classics, Jane Austen, Emily Bronte, Charles Dickens, Edith Wharton and the like. One book more perfect than the next. But of course that was never going to sustain me I was a teenager after all I wanted more than love stories.

So on I went delving deeper into the land of the literary giants, Harper Lee, Jd Salinger, Truman Capote, Sylvia Plath and all the wonderful writers that still make me swoon with their ability to transform ink on paper into pure genius. I think it was about this time I developed a rather unhealthy crush on Holden Caulfield one I’m yet to get over. No matter how much older I get when I pick up Catcher in the Rye I am instantly transported to a time and place where only Holden and I exist. A place where we understand each other and there are no phoneys and no tragedies. A little part of me will forever be lost to Holden and all that Catcher did for my life.

But alas you can’t stay in youth forever and so it was I began to discover the joys of such gothic delights as Poppy Z Brite and Ann Rice. The dark mysteries of Vampires and Zombies. And then of course the pure delight and shock value of crime the grittier and more gruesome the better.

Then of course the gruesome true crime books, the tales of mystery and woe. The dark recesses of the human mind all looked at from a safe distance inside the pages of a book. Every story a little more scary than the next but so comforting because you can simply put it down when you get too scared. It was at this time I started to read Edgar Allen Poe and so began a love affair that still endures. A love for the macabre the dark the different. Of course I read it all, Patricia Cornwell, Linda Fairstein, Kathy Reichs I read these stories and I learnt about the darker side of humanity. But you can only read so much of that before it starts to wear you down.

I moved into adulthood and discovered an array of writers each one more brilliant than the last, All of a sudden whole genres started to appear, ChickLit, Romance,Travel memoirs, Non Fiction, Bio’s and Autobio’s, Fantasy, Sci Fi, Fiction, History, Music, Art, Health, Philosophy and everything else. I was opening my eyes to a world of books, a world of knowledge an unexplored world just waiting for someone to pick up a book, open the cover and start the journey.

These are all stages most readers will pass through on their journey of reading. Paths of discovery leading us to unknown places that lie within the pages. Each reader starts their journey at a different place, falls in love with different characters and different writers but no matter where they start most will find that they end at the same place. A place of greater knowledge,of passion for the written word, a place of escapism, a place that non readers will never understand.

I never knew as a child that picking up a picture book would begin for a me a lifelong journey to far away lands and magical destinations. I never knew that books would take me far away from sad times or transport me to better places. All I knew was that when I picked up a book that somehow the world looked better.

Each time we pick up a book, its like starting a promise, A promise to be transported to another place and time. A place stranger or darker or more forbidden than where we are but definitely always better. Books are a way to escape pain and to relive joy. They are an opening, a glimpse into a world that is not ours. A gateway that allows the reader to step inside that world if only briefly to experience the magic within. But its more than that too, it’s a promise that we can come back anytime. Just open the pages and you will be transported to a different place any time you like.

This is my journey and I know every reader has their own, I am so grateful that I have had the opportunity to read and be surrounded by books. And now I am so blessed to pass that love on to other people, That I get to take people on part of that journey.